Ring video captures heroic South Bend officer during house fire
SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- A South Bend officer is being recognized as a hero by a homeowner after the officer was the first to arrive at a house fire two weeks ago.
Patrolman James Wolff arrived to the scene just before firefighters and with no way to know if anybody was inside the burning home, Wolff acted quickly and kicked the front door open.
A Ring surveillance camera on the house caught video footage of Wolff yelling into the home to check for any victims.
No one was home at the time of the fire, but Wolff’s actions did help to save some of the animals inside the home.
“You could definitely see it from a long ways away,” said Patrolman James Wolff.
While opening the front door to the open flames and letting oxygen in could have negative effects, Wolff worried with the smoke so thick the residents might be trapped inside.
“It was so thick and heavy in there it was already down to about a foot, foot and a half, off the ground,” said Wolff.
The homeowner works with the South Bend Police Department and said she heard the call come through at work when she realized her own home was on fire.
“Thank god there wasn’t anybody was in there,” said Wolff. “You know, because that was some pretty thick smoke and you know nobody’s going to survive that kind of smoke.”
Unfortunately, the house will need to undergo repairs after heavy damage from the flames.
The homeowner has several pets and fosters animals, but not all of the animals inside the home survived.
Wolff’s quick-thinking did assist in saving some of the animals inside the home, including Tonks, the dog.
“Animals are like…they’re family members to people,” said Wolff. “Even if they’re foster animals, they’re family members to people which is great to be able to save some animals in this case.”
Wolff credited all efforts to the firefighters who put out the flames as the damage could have been much worse.
“We can repair a door and we can repair a house, but you know when your heart’s into the animals and stuff like that like a lot of folks are…as long as we can save even one animal for somebody in a situation like this it’s a win,” said Wolff.
The South Bend Police Department held several fundraisers for the homeowner, according to Wolff.
If anyone is interested in donating items for the homeowner, donations can be made to the front desk of the police department.